Juan was born in Santiago, the fifth of seven siblings. His father was a farmer who encouraged him from a young age to enter the business world, where his outgoing personality and talent as an entrepreneur earned him great success.

He began his first business at his front door—he picked flowers, arranged them on a little table, and sold them to women passing by on the street. From the age of 8 to 10 he sold candy at school, and at 13 became a car salesman.